Secrets of Direct Mail Copy

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1 Secrets of Direct Mail Copy Most of content marketing deals with mediums such as blogs, articles, and white papers. This kind of writing is more latent in nature after all, most of the time people interact with a blog by visiting a certain website and reading what the writer has to say. Blogs don t go to the consumer. Rather, the consumer goes to the blog. Articles are the same way, as are white papers, videos, podcasts they all require the customer to take the first step in order to acquire the material. This is, of course, why Hubspot has coined the term inbound marketing for the majority of content marketing. It s all about drawing the customer in, rather than reaching out and trying to bludgeon them over the head with a marketing campaign. It s extremely successful, and the ROI on content marketing is incredible when compared to most traditional marketing methods. But what about direct mail? Direct mail is a form of content marketing that has a bit more of a go- gettem attitude than blogs, whitepapers, and articles. After all, a customer doesn t go to a website to download direct mail. They sign up for the service and then the direct mail goes to the customer. It s a little more active. Think of it as the Scrappy Doo of the Scooby Doo content marketing pantheon. What is Direct Mail? Direct mailing can be done both as an online medium and through the actual physical mail (remember what snail mail looks like). Now, if you re going to embark on a direct mail campaign particularly on the internet you need to get permission from the sender first, otherwise it becomes spam. Spam is not an effective marketing campaign in fact, it s a good way to get very unpopular with a lot of people very fast. The fact that the consumer needs to take the first step to join your direct mail campaign is what makes direct mail still considered part of inbound marketing, even though you are sending marking material to the customer, rather than waiting for the customer to come to your site. It can also be a very effective way to stay in touch with clients and potential clients many businesses offer promotions through their direct mail campaigns, which is a great way to join. (Offering discounts is a great way to do anything!) But if you want your direct mail campaign to be effective, you ll need to put the right words in the right places. Just like there s a method to the madness when it comes to blogging for business, direct mail also requires a special touch. Read on for my tried and true tips on how to direct mail like you directly mean it!

2 Direct Mail Tips Do your research. Want to know what works? Entrepreneur Magazine suggests that you start by taking a look into your own inbox. You ll likely see a flood of direct mail campaigns that you already receive, and you can take inspiration from their words and their design. Not part of any direct mail campaigns? I suggest you sign up for one or to from a service/product that you like. See how they present themselves and what they say. Strong headlines matter. Check out this article from PS Print, who does a lot of work with snail- mail based direct mail. Your headline is what is going to grab the customer s attention. I suggest you stay away from phrases like BEST DEAL EVER, because consumers are skeptical. Also, having extremely salesy headlines is a bulwark of the dreaded spam message (go ahead, click into your spam folder. You ll see what I mean), and you don t want to get mixed up with that crowd. On the other hand, having a headline like Widget Company is not going to entice anybody to open the envelope or the . Something like, You ll Save $400 A Year With This Great Widget Offer! is salesy and also enticing. Repeat yourself but briefly. Target Marketing Mag reminds us that it s important to identify the main benefit point of our product/service and then repeat it throughout the body of the or letter. You never know where a reader will look first though, if your audience is English- speaking, it s a good bet they ll start at the upper left corner of the page or and you want the purpose of your to be clear. On the other hand, make sure not to go on and on people aren t likely to be willing to spend 10 minutes reading all of your sales copy. Be brief, be helpful, be repetitive. Call to action. Call to action. Call to action. In case that isn t clear enough, every direct mailing piece should have an obvious call to action. Allison Media Group understands this it s one of their top three tips for direct mail. A call to action is what the reader is invited to do after they re finished consuming the material be it sign up for a coupon, click through to a blog, or share the information with their friends. The call to action should be very clear after all, you re sending the reader information directly to their mailbox because you want them to do something! With these tips in mind, you re off to a good start with a direct mail campaign. Another thing to remember is that it doesn t matter if you re a Fortune 500 company or just starting out a well- calibrated direct mail campaign can benefit you no matter where you are as a company. Do you use direct mail advertising? What are your tips for success?

3 Be Friendly, But Don t Write to Your Peers In my blog for yesterday, I went over what the term positioning means in terms of business and how it affects great copywriting. For those who can t be bothered to click the link, the short- short version is this: positioning is what a business does in order to be found by prospective clients. Essentially, where content marketing is concerned, it s all about positioning your business with the right keywords and then bolstering that use of keywords with actual knowledge. Today, I m going to speak more about something that might sound like splitting hairs but is actually 100% vital to writing effective copy that converts displaying your knowledge in the right way. There is tons of information on the internet when it comes to writing persuasive and effective copy. However, there is next to nothing that really talks about the art of funneling your information in the right way. Where blogging for business is concerned, one of the biggest mistakes that people who are just getting started off in content marketing make is writing to peers, rather than clients. But Why Wouldn t I Want to Write to My Friends? Well, you do. You want to write to your clients in a way that makes them feel comfortable and informed about your product or services. No doubt whether you re in the business of widgets or shoes or writing or dump trucks, you know a lot about your particular market. If you own a business that sells dump trucks, you probably know a truckload more about that subject than the average person. And by average person, I mean potential client. After all, if the client was equal to you in knowledge and felicity in the industry, it s likely that they wouldn t need to go through your business to get things done. They d do it themselves. Many writers who have a lot of knowledge about a certain subject or industry make the mistake of assuming that everybody is at the same level when planning their content marketing. Now, I m certainly not suggesting that anybody dumb down their copy readers won t like it if you treat them like they re idiots, either but remember that you re educating when you use content marketing. And you re likely educating a group of individuals who know less about the subject at hand than you do. This is not a bad thing! Again, if every client in the world knew just as much about your business as you do, the entire point of content marketing would be defunct. And the transfer of information is what makes content marketing so effective at its heart it has been estimated that 89% of all consumers do research on the internet before purchasing products and services. You want to be the resource that consumers hit upon when they re doing research in your particular industry. This is also why there s such a fine (and yet important!) divide between sales copy and

4 content marketing. Sales copy is certainly a part of content marketing, but so is genuinely informative content that has no sales pitch at the end and simply seeks to inform. It s the all squares are rectangles, and yet not all rectangles are squares deal. A good way to test whether or not your content is comprehensible is to sit down, blog, and then pass it off to a friend or family member who isn t in the industry. Ask them what they get out of the piece, and if they understand all parts of it. Remember that your potential client is coming to you for information. They may understand some of the bits and bolts of the industry; they may understand nothing. Here s the Challenge The challenge with content marketing is being able to produce writing that informs all, and yet talks down to none. Listen to the feedback. Explain or elaborate more on certain points. If you find that a certain section of your blog would require 200 more words to explain so that the layman understands your point well, it might be worth breaking up that blog into two separate blogs for maximum impact. Don t fall into the trap of writing to your peers. If I m reading a blog about astrophysics by an astrophysicist that is aimed toward other astrophysicists well, I m likely not going to stay long on that page since I m obviously not part of the target audience and I m not going to understand the conversation. They might be talking about the most interesting stuff in the world (or the universe, really), but I m not a peer. Not to say that every piece of writing on the internet has to be geared toward customers, but we re talking about blogging for business. You want your blog to be accessible to all who come across it, not just your peers. If the astrophysicist is trying to promote a product to the general public, he s going to have to frame astrophysics in a way that is consumable to all otherwise nobody is going to understand what he s trying to sell. If you blog for business, you write for all. What do you do to ensure that your product or service is marketed in a way that is consumable to all levels of site visitors?

5 Business Success: The Importance of Positioning If you re like me, you haven t had much formal education in the business of business. While the legions of small business might be stocked with MBAs and people who at least have a bachelor s degree in accounting, there are plenty of us who got into the business world without a lick of formal training. If this sounds like you, you re not alone: it s not as if Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard with an MBA from the Crimson. Steve Jobs also a dropout. Of course, these are high profile names, but there are a number of other college dropouts that might make you reconsider the importance of a college education. Now, obviously, I m not one to disparage the value of education I myself have a couple of pricey degrees behind me but, well, it s not a prerequisite for success. What does help is having the business knowledge needed to succeed from alternate sources. One of the concepts that I d like to go over is positioning; what it is, how it affects your business, and (most importantly to me, at least), how it affects blogging for business. Positioning: Place Yourself First The concept of positioning is relatively simple and a cornerstone of good content marketing. Basically, it s the process of putting your business in the right place to attract customers: as simple as that. For example, you wouldn t sell garden spades at a sci- fi conference. Not to say that you couldn t make any sales this way, but you d be much better off at your local garden and nursery store. The above example is a rather literal definition of positioning, but it s even more important for online business since, well, you can t literally go and sit in the garden section of Google. You need to work to make your business position itself virtually. For an overview about positioning from somebody who s had success with the concept, check out this article at Marketing for Success. How Does it Apply to Blogging? My friend, positioning has everything to do with blogging. It s the entire reason why every SEO with a white hat is ape over keywords. If you read the above article from Marketing for Success, you ll see that he brings out two major points: educating prospects to demonstrate your knowledge, and identifying and reaching your target market. Not only are these points vital to content marketing indeed, they are the entire point. Having a blog isn t just valuable because of the keywords you can stuff into it in order to help your site rise in the Google rankings. Of course, keyword use is a cornerstone of content marketing, but there s a reason why it s called content marketing rather than keyword marketing it s all about the content.

6 Keywords are essential to positioning. Coming up with the right keywords is the crux of how people will find you on the internet indeed, the first point that Marketing for Success points out is that you have to identify a need in order for positioning to work. Well, if people need garden spades and they head to the internet, ostensibly they ll type the words garden spades or some derivative into the Google search box. This is how the potential customer finds you. But when they find you that s when you need to unload the knowledge. Your content marketing needs to be diverse and information- rich enough for it to not only grab the attention of the Google search engine, but also of the human on the other side of the machine. Content marketing is essential to positioning you might not be able to hang out in Google s garden department, but your blog can. And you need your blog to be saying the right things for the customer to bite. Many business concepts like positioning are easy enough to understand at the end of the day. The only issue is finding the right tools to help you enact these concepts in a way that increases your ROI (that s return on investment, another business school word you re welcome) and your presence in the customer s mind without requiring a business loan to bolster those business ideas. Identify a need. Educate to demonstrate knowledge. Identify your target market and reach it. These are all cornerstones of a content marketing strategy which will ultimately deliver the last point that Marketing for Success goes over results. What are you doing in order to position your small business for success?

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